18th October 2016
Greens have welcomed a climb down by EU Trade ministers today who postponed a decision to approve the CETA trade deal between the EU and Canada. Heads of state and government will now discuss how to proceed with the trade agreement at a Council meeting on Thursday and Friday.
Greens have long opposed CETA and its better known cousin TTIP, the controversial US-EU trade deal, on the grounds that they are a ‘corporate charter’, threatening workers’, consumer and animal rights, health and safety standards and environmental protections. Both deals also want to grant corporations the right through special courts to sue governments over any legislation that threaten their profits.
Jean Lambert, Green MEP for London, said:
“Controversy about the EU-Canada trade agreement is mounting by the day, and rightly so. This deal would give more power to transnational corporations and weaken important protections for our environment, our heath, our rights at work and our rights as consumers. Whether or not ministers push the deal through this week it will still have to get past the European Parliament, and Greens and others are determined to vote against it and to stand up for a different kind of trade that improves workers’ rights, protects the environment, and enables the transition to a more sustainable and equal economy.”
Keith Taylor, Green MEP for the South East, who sits on the Environment Committee in the European Parliament, said:
“Today’s postponement is worth celebrating for what it represents: a trade deal spiralling into confusion. Greens are at the forefront of the fight against toxic trade deals and, along with the strength of public opposition, our message is being heard. CETA is in disarray, much like its well-known cousin TTIP. Heads of state and governments thought they could rush through a decision today; they were wrong.
“Discussions will now take place later this week in full glare of the Citizens’ CETA Summit, where citizens, politicians, and campaigners will come together in the European Parliament to register their opposition to this EU-Canada trade deal. A trade deal which includes, amongst its most pernicious elements, an ‘Investment Court System’ which allows corporations to sue democratically elected governments for protecting the rights of their citizens.”
Molly Scott Cato, Green MEP for the South West and Green Party speaker on EU relations, said:
“The corporations and political elites who have been steering free-trade deals for many years are finding they are losing control. Strong public resistance and opposition from national and regional governments in Europe are throwing the controversial TTIP and CETA trade deals off track.
“However, we must recognize that this is just the start of the fight. The Conservative government has shown itself desperate for trade deals at any price. The risk of isolation following the vote to leave Europe may encourage them to sign us up to even more damaging trade deals. With so much of the energy of the anti-TTIP and anti-CETA fight coming from the UK, it would be a tragic irony if we found ourselves leaping out of the TTIP and CETA frying-pan into the fire of whatever pro-corporate trade deals Liam Fox cooks up.”